A chemical reactor is an enclosed volume in which a chemical reaction takes place.In chemical engineering, it is generally understood to be a process vessel used to carry out a chemical reaction, which is one of the classic unit operations in chemical process analysis. The design of a chemical reactor deals with multiple aspects of chemical engineering. Chemical engineers design reactors to maximize net present value for the given reaction. Designers ensure that the reaction proceeds with the highest efficiency towards the desired output product, producing the highest yield of product while requiring the least amount of money to purchase and operate. Normal operating expenses include energy input, energy removal, raw material costs, labor, etc. Energy changes can come in the form of heating or cooling, pumping to increase pressure, frictional pressure loss or agitation.
Chemical reaction engineering is the branch of chemical engineering which deals with chemical reactors and their design, especially by application of chemical kinetics to industrial systems.
Main article: Batch reactor
The simplest type of reactor is a batch reactor. Materials are loaded into a batch reactor, and the reaction proceeds with time. A batch reactor does not reach a steady state, and control of temperature, pressure and volume is often necessary. Many batch reactors therefore have ports for sensors and material input and output. Batch reactors are typically used in small-scale production and reactions with biological materials, such as in brewing, pulping, and production of enzymes. One example of a batch reactor is a pressure reactor.
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